The area’s two new football coaches, Inman’s Lance Sawyer and Moundridge’s Jeremiah Meeks, were at the 96.7 KBBE-FM Saturday morning coaches show exchanging information last week.
Sawyer and Meeks, whose teams lost their season openers, simply swap opponents this week.
Sawyer’s Teutons make their home debut on Friday as they take on Marion, while Meeks’ Wildcats host Trinity Catholic.
The Teutons showed a lot of offensive promise last week in a 46-33 loss to Trinity.
“It was good to get the first one under our belt,” Sawyer said. “We played hard. We saw some really good things offensively, but defensively we need to improve our tackling in order to win ballgames. We had some kids really step up and play well. Tyler Gordon played exceptionally well on the line. Keaton Case really played well under the new system. I was impressed overall with our wide receivers. We didn't have dropped balls and they made plays after the catch.”
Marion will be just as difficult as Trinity.
“Marion is going to be good,” Sawyer said. “They are big and physical up front. We are going to need to be able to stop the run in order for us to have a chance. They will run the veer option with their quarterback. Jack Schneider is a really quick quarterback who can make plays. We must bottle him up inside.”
Meanwhile, Meeks’ Wildcats will be looking to put their first points on the board after a 26-0 loss to Marion.
“Our defense played really well. We put them in some bad spots, but they stepped and did their jobs,” Meeks said. “Offense had some bright spots, but there are a few wrinkles that needed ironed out. (Quarterback Anthony) Otte played really well for us.”
Trinity scored a lot of points last week and Meeks knows his team will have to read its keys.
“They will try and spread you out and attack with the run and short passes,” Meeks said. “They are very well coached and do not make mistakes.They will line up and hit you in the mouth on defense and they have a very good defensive line.”
• Hesston at Halstead — Easily the most anticipated game of the night.
The Swathers were outlasted 33-27 by Garden Plain in their season opener last week and will try to avenge last year’s only regular-season loss. Halstead began 2016 by drilling Smoky Valley, 36-6.
“It took us about a quarter for our young players to adjust to the speed of the game,” Hesston coach Clint Rider said. “From the first quarter on, we outscored our opponent. Garden Plain is a great team and that game will make us better.”
Halstead is coming off a sensational season and it doesn’t appear to have fallen off any.
“Halstead will run their Power I offense and look to establish the interior running game,” Rider said. “Layke Heimerman is a load at fullback and will be tough to stop. Tony Morris is a strong runner at tailback that has a ton of speed once he gets going. Chase Vansteenburg has filled in nicely at QB and has good feet.”
Hesston's Cameron Cox, just a sophomore, caught seven balls for 139 yards as he was a stickout against the Owls. Parker Roth, also a sophomore, rushed for 71 yards. Defensively, Zach Esau and Alex Hostetler had fine games, Rider said.
• Little River at Bennington — The Redskins didn’t meet up to coach Paul Dold’s expectations last week despite a narrow 34-28 loss to Centre.
“We played very poorly our first week out,” Dold said. “We need to improve in all areas of the game, primarily offensive execution and defensive assignments with intensity.”
Dold said the two brights were Peyton Harvey and Clay Zeller. Harvey went over the 100-yard mark rushing and tallied a pair of touchdowns while Zeller directed the offense.
Bennington, despite a 74-38 loss to Herington, is more than capable.
“Bennington will play a 3-3 and 4-2 on defense with size up front and a couple very fast playmakers on offense,” Dold said. (J.J.) Allen and (Avery) Kidd are their favorite receivers that will challenge our pass defense.”
• Larned at Smoky Valley — The Vikings will be looking to even their record against Larned in their home opener.
The Vikings were defeated 36-6 in the season opener by Halstead, with the highlight a TD toss from Brett Heitschmidt to Kyle Anderson.
Larned dropped a 31-16 verdict to Pratt in its opener.
“We need to focus on getting better in every aspect of the game,” Viking coach Tim Lambert said. “We play Larned and they are pretty good. We will have to play a lot better if we hope to win. The good thing is that we are capable of playing much better. We just have to do it.”
• Rural Vista at Canton-Galva — Dustin Patee’s team continues an opening-season gauntlet.
After losing 64-16 to powerhouse Solomon last week, the Eagles take on a high-octane Rural Vista team that flogged Peabody, 58-8.
“Rural Vista is a very good team, their QB is a coach's kid,” Patee said. “So, he is smart, tough and he is a great athlete. They also have two big boys that will give our freshmen some tough times. They will run the ball at us and play a 3-5 scheme, hopefully we can execute on offense and stay in the game. These tough early matchups will help us grow quickly, which we need."
Because of injuries, the Eagles were forced to start four freshmen and Patee said overall the Eagles didn’t do badly despite the score.
“We executed our plays and schemes, leading us to a 16-14 lead,” Patee said. “Then we botched a couple of plays and our youth shined through, we started hanging our heads and they jumped on us hard. I was proud of our freshmen for how they came out early, but now they have to learn to overcome adversity.”
The Eagles' Dylan Wood shined on opening night with his all-around play and Hunter Pearson was lauded for his offensive play by Patee.